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Amy Klobuchar dropping out of 2020 race and endorsing Joe Biden

Another shakeup as Klobuchar exits 2020 race
Another shakeup as Klobuchar exits 2020 race 13:54

Amy Klobuchar suspended her presidential campaign Monday and endorsed Joe Biden at a rally in Dallas on Monday night, just hours before voters in 14 states go to the polls on Super Tuesday. 

"He can bring our country together and build that coalition of that fired-up Democratic base as well as Independents as well as moderate Republicans. Because we do not, in our party, want to eek by with a victory, we want to win big," Klobuchar said at the rally Monday night.

While the Minnesota Democrat often boasted about kicking off her campaign in the middle of a blizzard, the end of her run was marked by a storm of frustrations and stalled momentum. Aides and allies told CBS News they took solace in the fact that her campaign performed better and lasted longer than many had initially expected.

Over the course of the campaign, Klobuchar was quick to admit she did not have the name recognition or financial resources enjoyed by some of her rivals. Besides hitting the trail, her prospects hinged on her performance in the primary debates, which were crucial for introducing herself to a national audience and raising money.

Klobuchar positioned herself as a moderate Midwesterner who could unite the party, casting doubt on the feasibility of progressive policy proposals like free college tuition and Medicare for All put forward by Senator Bernie Sanders. She also largely steered clear of criticizing Biden, given the similarity in their views.

Armed with her neighborly appeal, Klobuchar bet that a strong finish in the Iowa caucuses would catapult her candidacy into the top tier. She set out to visit all of the state's 99 counties, a feat she accomplished just before the weeks-long Senate impeachment trial trapped her on Capitol Hill. She came in sixth place, signaling that Iowa voters did not agree with her proposition that a Midwest moderate was best suited to win back the heartland.

In what would prove to be the high water mark of her bid, Klobuchar managed to bounce back with a strong showing at debate in New Hampshire just days before the Granite State's primary. She came in third, ahead of Elizabeth Warren, a surprising finish that allowed her to continue on to Nevada and South Carolina.

Amy Klobuchar
Senator Amy Klobuchar seen February 29, 2020, in Richmond, Virginia. Getty

There were indications earlier Monday that Klobuchar's bid was coming to an end. After an event in Salt Lake City, Utah, the campaign held reporters for over two hours, with the lights turned off and no staff in sight. As late as Monday morning, a senior adviser said they had received no "official word" of her exiting the race but declined to elaborate. Multiple aides said they had expected her to remain in the race through Super Tuesday.

The senator broke the news to her staff entire shortly after 1 p.m. ET on a conference call from Salt Lake City on Monday, two campaign officials told CBS News. Klobuchar thanked her team for their work on the "wild ride" of the campaign, telling staff that she was proud of the operation they built.

She also acknowledged that the outcome was not what they wished, but that she felt it was right to consolidate support around Biden. The call lasted around 20 minutes, and Klobuchar and staff members were sad and a bit shell-shocked.

One longtime Klobuchar ally said the initial plan to remain in the race through Super Tuesday was becoming untenable as polls showed her coming in behind Sanders in her own state of Minnesota. 

"The feeling in the campaign really starting to change last week," this person said.

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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